Betrayed and left for dead, rage is the only force keeping Janis alive. Rage at the enemies who slaughtered his family, at the wizard who sold them out, but most of all at himself for letting it happen.
Yet now it’s too late to do anything about it.
His body spasms. His memories leak away. In his final moments, a presence approaches him. It’s alien but powerful, driven by a hunger he’s never known. Give me life within you, the nameless one offers, and I will give you your vengeance.
Janis will go from prince assassin to fugitive sorcerer as he hunts the people who killed his family. He’ll battle mercenaries, cultists, gods, and wizards in a magic devastated world, unraveling a conspiracy that goes far beyond the treachery of one wizard.
He fuels his success with a diabolic power the depths of which he’s only discovering. He’ll come to ask what he sold his soul to, and to wonder the truth about what it wants.
All he knows for sure is that there’s no going back.
Vengeance is only the beginning.
Targeted Age Group:: 18-40
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'm a big fan of old school, epic dark fantasy series like Elric of Melnibone and Bloodstone. I wanted to write this series to build with elements I love about those stories and amp them up to 11. Lots of action, intrigue, and no-holds-barred mayhem, with a unique magic system and philosophical bent.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I think antiheroes are fascinating and wanted to create one that would be emotionally interesting and complex. To do that right, I wanted to create a stable of complex characters for them to interact with.
Janis was dead.
That should have disturbed him, but as a veteran of the Shimmer he accepted its flood of impressions. The character of its formless expanse. Everyone who dreamed recognized it, but for those who had spent their lives entering by choice, as he had, the Shimmer was a kind of home. He knew it as the eternal chaos between universes. A realm of abstraction where Lethi god-beings dwelled, wizards explored, and the infinite dead and yet-to-be-born swirled in a sea of potentiality. Some speculated that the Shimmer was real, and it was growth in realms like Urias that was the dream. Most of them were wizards who had lost their minds. Janis had once thought as they did, but he’d chosen a different path. He saw the Shimmer as Death, and that was how it embraced him now.
His body oozed blood as it descended into an abyss. It was like watching a doll. The pain he endured was deeper, in the essence of who he was.
All the triumphs and losses accrued over 22 years of life were leaking away as his body spasmed. His mind was fracturing, evaporating into the countless potential Janis’s that had never been or would never be. How had this happened? He grasped at memories that slipped away like fish. Clutched one that blossomed within him like a flare. Flames, blood on his hands; screams, shouting; could make out a face…
His sister. Her violet eyes glistening as she regarded him from a stone rampart. Someone had arms around her, thin face leering at him. Who?
Finally, you are where you deserve to be…
A presence coalesced, reading his dissolving mind like a tome. Janis struggled for a name, and as he did, an image formed of a pale face with coal-black eyes. The man with Renea. His name wouldn’t come.
It’s because you are dead, son of Aphora…
No, Janis thought. Not yet.
“As the body goes, so goes the mind.” Fourth Apothegm.
Janis reached into the Shimmer with everything he had. “Help me, Lethi,” he screamed into the storm of abstractions. “Give me life and I will give you substance.”
The presence laughed into Janis’s soul. His name rose like a sickness. Orinax. Betrayer, murderer, kidnapper. He’d fled with Renea. When? Why?
You were narrow-minded, arrogant, and petty. Your sister has far more potential. Soon, all Urias will witness it, and all the bloated kings and nobles of this world will fall before us But you will not because you will be no more. His essence dissipated. Janis groped for it. One last chance to stay tethered to reality. Surrender. Death is all the World Tree has for you. He disappeared, and only the swirling, maddening darkness remained. Janis called out again, but even the god-beings and lesser Lethi had abandoned him.
Rage swept through his fading essence. Hate for Orinax, but most of all for himself. Who was he that he could have failed so utterly? He couldn’t remember.
The being that was Janis flickered like a sputtering flame. He would be no more and lose Renea forever. Why was that important? No, the question was, “how could it not be?” She was his family, and his enemy had taken her. Yet there was such release in letting the pieces of himself drift away. Soon, it would all be over. He could accept it. Perhaps it would be as the ancient priests had said, and he would be reborn in some happier universe with better fortune.
He felt something nearby, like a ripple in a bottomless ocean. Another presence. Was it in Urias or the Shimmer?
Hail, broken one…
It spoke in a whisper, caught by his fading mind over a distance so great he couldn’t conceive of it. Its mind was alien. The more he looked, the less he understood. It felt like staring off the edge of a cliff with no bottom.
There is a way you can yet survive…
“How?” Janis intimated.
Agree to make me manifest through you, and I will give you lives.
“Never,” Janis thought. It wanted to own him. To make him a mage. A mere vessel for alien powers.
A partnership… a symbiosis… we will sustain… grow…
In Urias, his body sank to the bottom of the abyss. In time, it would decay and scatter, the same as his soul. Could he accept being a sorcerer? Living in partnership with a Lethi of the Shimmer given life?
Bring me into existence, and I will give you the power to crush your enemies…
He saw it as it’s said the prophets and shamans first glimpsed piercing the Veil between reality and the Shimmer. He was godlike, using his mind and control over the Veil to rupture hundreds, thousands of his enemies. Could it be true? Should he believe it?
All can be yours… but you must accept…
The rage swelled in Janis’s heart. What difference did it make what he had to sacrifice if the choice was between death and vengeance? Being something at all was better than being an abstraction. If it meant he could save Renea…
On the wizard who’d killed him, the gods and people who’d left him for dead, reborn in a universe only redeemable through destruction.
Choose now or perish…
The last of Janis’s memories slithered out into the ocean of thoughts and endless potentialities as his lungs swelled to burst.
He chose vengeance.
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